Deshaun Watson, Browns press conference

CLEVELAND (WJW) — The Cleveland Browns introduced new star quarterback Deshaun Watson on Friday and it gave the FOX 8 I-Team the first chance to ask direct questions about the sexual misconduct allegations.

The Browns announced they were acquiring Watson last week from Houston after Deshaun initially said he would not join the team.

On Thursday, the I-Team announced that a second grand jury had ruled that Watson should not face criminal charges.

But, he still faces 22 lawsuits from women for sexual misconduct.

During Friday’s press conference, the I-Team asked, “What can you tell us about what really happened with these women?” Are you saying they all made this up? Are they all lying?

“All I can say is I’ve never assaulted, I’ve never disrespected, I’ve never harassed any woman in my life. I wasn’t raised that way. . My mom and aunts didn’t raise me that way in my life. It’s not in my DNA,” Watson said in response.

So we continued with “How did we go from zero to 22 trials?”

And, he said, “I can’t control this. The only thing I can control is to keep erasing my name.

Watson rejected needing advice because he feels he has been falsely accused.

The press conference lasted more than half an hour and only a few questions revolved around football.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry said they used independent investigative resources to get a full picture of the situation before making a decision. He said the Browns organization is sensitive to the seriousness of the allegations and sympathizes with women victims of sexual assault.

Berry described the Browns’ investigation as “a five-month odyssey” that allowed the team to feel comfortable enough with Watson as a person to trade for him – and by extension make him the face. of their franchise.

The Browns lured Watson to Cleveland with a record, fully guaranteed, $230 million contract that includes a $1 million base salary in the first season in the event he is suspended by the NFL.

Watson found himself in the spotlight for going on social media and meeting women for massages.

He also responded to this by saying, “Nowadays, especially with my age group, social media is a huge part of business. So that’s a factor. As for the details, I can’t go too far because there is an ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile, we checked with the NFL’s internal league investigation. The NFL said the investigation was still “open.”

The NFL said it was unable to provide a timeline on when the investigation will conclude or when a decision on his status will be made. The league issued the following statement regarding the investigation:

The NFL’s full investigation into the serious allegations against Deshaun Watson is still ongoing. We have also closely followed all legal developments in this area. If the league investigation determines that Watson violated the personal conduct policy, disciplinary action may be imposed in accordance with the policy and the collective agreement.

Some people now believe the Browns sent the wrong message to women by trading for Watson as he faces lawsuits from nearly two dozen women.

The I-Team asked Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, “Are you saying you don’t believe any of these women?”

Haslam said: “Due process exists in our country and the considerable time we spent researching it led us to the decision we have made.”

The Browns pointed out that they had not contacted the women of the prosecutions because they did not want to be accused of trying to interfere with the justice system.

We also spoke to Letitia Quinones, an attorney helping defend Watson. She said, “We have to wait and let things play out in court.”

She said she hoped Watson would learn from the fallout of contact with women on social media.

She added: “This young man, until these prosecutions, lived a respectful and law-abiding life with many people who knew him and who will support him.”

At the end, Watson said he wanted to prove himself to you.

“As a person, I am authentic. I work hard. A leader who likes to be social in the community and likes to give back,” he said.

Watson promised to be active in the community, but said he wanted to be careful to make sure he helps an organization make a difference. He doesn’t want to be accused of being active just so people forget about the sexual misconduct allegations.

It’s unclear how long it may take for these lawsuits to unfold.

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